Collectors in general want to expand their collections with all variations of their category of interest.
In searching the internet, flea markets and shows, one may hear the term “one of a kind.” This often gives the seller a chance to raise the price.
Most all collectibles are, or have been, mass produced. The only exceptions are salesmen’s samples or prototypes. We have often written about supply and demand that sometimes creates very limited availability of an item, thus increasing the values.
It is always good to relate actual happenings in the collector’s world.
During the late 1970s and ’80s, the collector’s market was very active. Pickers and sellers were taking advantage of the market and did very well. It was not unusual to have shows drawing 10,000 to 15,000 people to a weekend event.
There are three cases of major “finds” that my wife and I experienced that point out how supply and demand affect the market.
Ohio was an excellent area for advertising collectibles because of local producers and printers. We received a call from a Kent, Ohio, dealer who had purchased a huge quantity of TW Soda signs from a factory going out of business. The quantity was so large that the truck could not pull away because of the weight.
The company was Norka (Akron spelled backward) beverages. The dealer sold us hundreds of assorted flavor signs for $2 each. We in turn sold at shows for $10 each.
Today these signs are in collections nationwide and online. One just sold for $210! Why? There are no longer readily available and are in mint condition.
Another story is from nearby Wadsworth, Ohio, where a very well-known dealer found a quantity of more than 400 lithograph posters, circa 1903, for Satin Skin Powder and Skin Cream, featuring an attractive woman with a handheld fan.
He claimed they would someday be valuable, so he stood firm at $50 each, which in 1980 was a lot for something found in stacks. They all disappeared, and last week online, this same poster sold for $1,150!
Lastly, my favorite story, from Talmadge, Ohio. A dealer knew we liked talcum powder tins, as they are very collectible. He found in a closed drug store 11 cases of 12 Cadette talcum tins shaped like a toy soldier. These were new old stock and not known on the East Coast. We purchased all and did well at $25 each. They are all absorbed in collections, and in recent online sales of $275!
Thank you for reading this far about our true adventures in the collecting world. You too can join the fun and search for the unusual. Remember this, however: There are very few “one of a kind” items.
Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.